Turkey´s Relations With Central Asian Republics

Central Asia is a strategically important region for ensuring the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region. Its energy resources are vital for global energy security and it is a major hub for gas and oil pipelines as well as trade corridors.

In their 25 years of independence, the Central Asian Republics have made substantial progress in many areas, particularly in solidifying their sovereignty, institutionalizing their state-building structures and elevating their level of integration with the world.

Turkey is the first country to have recognized the independence of the Central Asian countries. Since 1991, our desire for a stable, independent and prosperous Central Asia has guided our policy priorities in the region towards building free market economies and functioning democracies. Given our common historical, linguistic and cultural ties, we have sought to increase engagement with this region on a broad range of issues. In this respect, the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanisms that we have established with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and the Cooperation Council with Tajikistan provide a useful basis to further our relations.

Turkey’s economic relations with the Central Asian Republics have developed rapidly, and significant progress has been achieved in the fields of trade, transportation and communications. The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) was established in order to provide technical assistance to these countries and has been operating successfully in close cooperation with the local authorities in the region.

Turkey’s trade volume with the countries of the region was about 7 billion USD by the year 2016 and the total investments of Turkish companies in the region exceeded 13 billion USD as of December 2017. The total value of projects realized by Turkish contracting companies in the region has reached a level of around 86 billion USD. Nearly 4 thousand Turkish companies have been operating on the ground.

Relations have also developed in the areas of culture and education. The International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) was established in 1993 for the purpose of protecting the Turkic culture, art, language and historical heritage; introducing these values to the world and transferring them to the younger generations.

Turkey has been carrying out a broad scholarship program “Turkey Scholarships” for students in Central Asia as well as other regions. Many Turkish schools under the Ministry of National Education exist in the Central Asian Republics. The Turkish-Kazakh International Hoca Ahmet Yesevi University operates in the city of Turkestan, (Kazakhstan) and the Turkish-Kyrgyz Manas University is located in Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan).

Turkey pioneered the process of “The Summits of Turkic Speaking Countries' Heads of States”, held since 1992 in order to increase solidarity between the Turkic Speaking Countries and to create new cooperation opportunities among them. This process has acquired an institutional structure through the Nakhichevan Treaty regarding the Establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) signed on 3 October 2009. The Secretariat of the Council was established in Istanbul. Turkic Council continues its activities in every field and every level with close cooperation of member countries.